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Filing for federal disability retirement benefits can be a daunting process, due in no small part to the copious amounts of paperwork an applicant faces.

If there is a theme I have noticed from applicants upon realizing how many steps are necessary to file an application, it is that their initial reactions ranges from frustration to bewilderment. When a Federal or Postal service employee opts to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, he or she is confronted with a wide array of “Standard Forms” – from SF 3107 (2801 for CSRS employees), to the 3112 series (which applies to CSRS & FERS employees).

Even worse, completing these standard forms is not the end of the story: Necessary documents include the provision of:

  • Basic personal and professional information;
  • The Applicant’s Statement of his or her disability in tandem with a description of how it impacted his or her ability to perform the essential elements of the position;
  • Supervisor’s Statement – a supervisor’s assessment of the employee’s performance in the job, and any impact of the employee’s performance on the agency’s operation;
  • Medical documentation as an attachment – the details on the medical condition should support the Applicant’s Statement and refute any contrary perspective put forward by the agency;
  • The Agency’s Statement – this will touch on whether the agency made an attempt to make a reasonable accommodation of the employee’s condition and whether this was possible. It may also address the issue of whether a reassignment was attempted; and
  • Addressing additional issues – including life insurance, health insurance and spousal survivor annuity.

Information on what to consider when applying for federal disability is provided by the OPM.

These initial steps may seem onerous, but they are not the end of the story. Aside from filling in the basic forms and including the above provisions, the applicant must recognize that an effective disability retirement application often involves delving into many statutes and case decisions as well as other legal issues. There are specific presumptions that can assist them in having there application accepted by OPM that are case law specific, like the Bruner presumption available to those who are removed for Medical Inability to Perform.

You may encounter questions such as what to do if the agency is considering terminating you, or whether a supervisor’s statement should be challenged.

When these kinds of issues arise in a disability retirement claim it makes sense to contact an experienced federal employee attorney.


The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines represents US Federal Employees before the EEOC, MSPB, FLRA, OSC and Union Grievances as well as assisting them with obtaining their disability benefits claims from OPM and the MSPB. The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, Esq. represents federal employees nationwide and wherever else they may be stationed.

Mr. Pines has a unique and special interest in assisting disabled federal employees in obtaining reasonable accommodations, freedom from discriminatory treatment and OPM Disability Benefits if necessary. Mr. Pines and his firm have experience drafting over 70 EEO Final Agency Decisions as well as representing 100’s of employees in navigating the EEO Reasonable Accommodation and OPM Disability landscape.

If you are a Federal Employee or former Federal Employee we believe it is very important that you consider hiring an attorney with specific experience handling such claims in the federal employee landscape. The federal legal system is unique and unlike any other legal system as it has many procedural and legal differences from non-federal employment law. The time and money it takes to hire an attorney who does not have federal sector experience and have them get up to speed in the federal sector legal environment can often waste valuable time and financial resources for the unknowing federal employee. It is often a much better value and much less frustrating to hire someone who solely practices in the federal employee labor and employment field. Attorney Eric L. Pines has practiced solely in the federal employee field for over 17 years. For a review of recent successful case decisions please see the following link.

No post on this website is meant to be legal advice and the posts on this website do not serve as a substitute for legal advice.

The information presented on this website is a general description of law and processes; each case is different, and there may be approaches listed here that are not accurate or applicable to your case.

It is very important that the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC notes that each and every Federal Employee’s claim is different. Just because the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC was able to secure substantial past-due benefits for one Federal Employee does not mean or imply that we will be able to do so for you. In some cases, the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC may not be able to secure any financial compensation or past-due benefits due to the facts or law of your particular case.

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Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach. He represents federal employees and acts as in-house counsel for over fifty thousand federal employees through his work as a federal employee labor union representative.

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